Tuesday, May 22, 2018

e-Communication Summer Assignment 2018

This assignment is only for those incoming sophomores applying for e-Comm who missed the e9 course. Please follow all of the directions carefully.


  1. Create a new Blogger blog. You will need a Gmail address to do this. Go to www.blogger.com 
  2. You are responsible for completing each of the modules in the posts below: Graphic Design, Animation, Video, Web.
  3. Post your assignments to your blog in the order they are below.
  4. E-mail your blog address to anettervilleonw@olatheschools.org
  5. Your assignment is due by the first day of school. E-mail anettervilleonw@olatheschools.org if you have any questions.

 Graphic Design

Download the assignment here.

Here is the image file for the assignment.


Here is the Animation summer assignment: interNetterville: Summer Animation Project


  1. Take notes over the following lessons:

    Camera Techniques

    Camera Shots

    Camera Angles

  2. You will create a VIDEO RESUME that will market yourself to a college or university. 

    Download the assignment here. Follow the directions carefully. 

Web Design

Click here to download the Web Design summer assignment.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Free Stuff!

Copyright-Free Photos

Anything that has been published IS already protected by copyright law, even if there is no copyright symbol or notice -- unless the creator explicitly states that they are giving away their work. Don't just grab images from a search result.

These sites are ones where photographers give away photos. Caution: these 3 sites also contain links to stock image sites that are not free.

Do a search, but filter out the copyrighted stuff.

  • Google Image search Click Tools>Usage rights>Labeled for reuse. Choose a large enough size for your project. Zero in further with Type and Color.

Unless you filter the usage rights, you will be seeing copyrighted images that are not legal to use.

Free Online Image Editors

Pixlr and other free image editors
have become decent alternatives to Photoshop.
No Photoshop?  No problem.  Here are some free options that will get you by in a pinch:


Free fonts

You can find fonts on these sites - download the zip files. Open them and then double-click the TTF files to install. Google Fonts is the least likely to be blocked at school.

Free software you can download!

The software we use at school can be rather cost-prohibitive for students (and teachers) to get at home. The sites below have free software packages that can be viable alternatives to the commercial software we use at school.

Graphic Design:

Web Design (visual web editors):




Monday, February 5, 2018

Making and installing your custom favicon

What's a Favicon?

FAVorites ICON

The favicon is a very small, square graphic that shows up in browser tabs and other places - favorites (bookmarks), other blog feeds, and more.

You may make your own favicon, and install it on your blog.

The trick is to remember two words:
  1. Square -- The favicon must be square - Blogger will not accept it if it is even 1 pixel off. 
  3. Simple --To turn out legible at such a small size, it must be simple - in shape and in color.  Favicons are sometimes one letter, or a simplified version of a logo or icon.

You can make it in either Photoshop or Illustrator, though you will probably have better results with Illustrator. The example below is done with Illustrator.

Start with a square image - at a size easy to work with.

Transparency is allowed (PNG and GIF do transparency, JPG no) but I usually avoid it when making favicons.

So, start out with a square artboard in Illustrator. I used 400px x 400px. Create.

*** There is a setting you need to tweak so that things won't turn to mush when we shrink this thing down to icon size:
Before you start working, go up to Adobe Illustrator > preferences > general >make sure the two checkboxes to resize corners and resize strokes and effects are checked.
To make a favicon of your initial, type the initial, and size it to fit in the artboard. If things are happening that you don't want, you may need to reset the character panel. (Click the hidden menu in the upper-right, and at the bottom, choose Reset.)

Anti-Aliasing is what is used to smooth out curves by adding in a lot of in-between colors. Normally this is a good thing. You'll see different options - sharp, crisp, and strong.

Probably, once this is sized down very small, it will actually look cleaner without any anti-aliasing, so choose none. The edges will look jagged and blocky, because now illustrator is only using one color for the edge.
Right now, the artboard is the only thing in back.

Use the rectangle tool to make a square, with any fill color that you want. Make sure you have contrasting color between the rectangle and your initial in the foreground.

After the rectangle is made, right-click it and Arrange > Send to Back.

Open up your artboards panel.

Make a new artboard by clicking the icon next to the trash can.

Click (double-click?) the names of your artboards to rename them.
Up in the bar, resize the W and the H of your favicon artboard to 16px by 16px.
Select both your rectangle and your initial (drag a box around them both, or click one and then shift-click the other) - and then Option-Drag to make a copy of your work.

Holding down Shift, start sizing down your rectangle and initial to fit on the small artboard.
Zoom way in on your favicon artboard, and make sure that the rectangle and the initial are fitting entirely on the artboard.
Now you can zoom back out to 100% size, and check to see if the None option for anti-aliasing is what you want. You can open the character panel and try on of the other options. Go with whatever looks cleanest when you are viewing it at its actually tiny size.

Does it look best with antialiasing?
or without?
When you are ready, File > Export > Save for Web. Use PNG-24, and uncheck transparency.

Make sure you have Clip to Artboard checked.

Make sure the size is 16px x 16px.

If something looks wrong, go back and fix it.

In this case, my square and letter were not fitting exactly on the artboard.
I went back, selected the rectangle, opened the shape panel, and set it back to 16px by 16px, and then made sure the square fit exactly to the artboard.

I also then had to move the initial over a bit.

To get things to fit the way you want, you may need to uncheck snapping - under View in the main menu.
Now when I Save for Web, it looks better.

Go to your layout settings in Blogger, and select your icon for the Favicon gadget.

You may not see it change right away in your browser tab.  If you are in Chrome or Firefox, Command-Shift+Delete will clear the browser cache and history, and force it to reload your new favicon.  (It will also log you out of Blogger, though.)

Websites nowadays actually can use several different sizes of favicons for different purposes - one for tabs, another for icons on a tablet, another for mobile devices, etc.

If you open up your blog on a device that uses a larger size (which will make your 16x16 look fuzzy), let us all know please! Leave a comment below, and we can modify these instructions for a bigger save size.

Have fun personalizing your blog with a favicon!  As with everything else, keep it classy.
If you'd like to find out more of the finer points of favicons for website use, this is a good page: Create a favicon for your site in 8 steps

Sunday, December 10, 2017

This is for Everyone

With the current fight for net neutrality in mind - here's a step back to look at the bigger picture of The World Wide Web, and its inventor, Tim Berners-Lee.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Social Media Image Sizes

It's really nice to customize your own graphics or photos for your social media sites - for profile photo or banner image, for example. Thing is, they change fairly often.

Here are the current 2017 sizes!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

e-Comm For Life!

When you take e-Communication classes, you aren't learning a subject, as much as a way to communicate - about anything. It's a lot like learning a new language - except this language lets you sense the world around you, think about it and feel it, and then communicate it to others with much more than words.

Share your passion

e-Communicate your passion!
e-Communication is how you can really reach people. What are you interested in?  What do you love doing? e-Communication gives you ways to share it with the world, when a vocabulary of words alone would be inadequate.

Not every e-Comm student is going to end up working in journalism, video entertainment, animation, graphic design, or web design. However, all of you will carry with you the skills from these areas to apply to any future career, hobby, or passion.

Noteworthy analogy

It's all about the drums.
To use my own experience as an analogy - music is what got me through junior high and high school. I earned my bachelors degree in music. By the time I finished that degree, I realized that I did not want to be a school music teacher. I taught lessons in a music store for a few years, while I tried out the life of a "full-time" professional musician. It didn't take long to decide that wasn't going to be my life-long career either. I finally got back to teaching school in other areas than music - BUT all my life there have been countless little ways that my music background has paid off. It's a hobby and a love. Through music, I can communicate wordlessly from parts of myself that are otherwise hidden and silent. I am able to donate my musical talents to good causes. My life experience would be much less rich, less interesting, less beautiful - without that background in music. e-Communication may turn out to be to you what music is to me.

Your superpowers

e-Comm may not turn into a life-long career for you, but it will stay with you - giving you enriched ways to see the world around you, and to communicate what you see and what you are passionate about. Your ability to get your ideas across through some combination of writing, video, animation, graphic design, and web design gives your communication extra range and impact.

You may have noticed e-Communication's new slogan:
Communicate, Collaborate, Innovate, DESIGN. 
This is the stuff that lasts, no matter what crazy new things happen with technology or software in your lifetime. We also hope you take away some project management and leadership skills, in addition to mastering the current technical content.

Use the Force!

Sure, we love to see e-Communication alumni make it as professional designers, animators, broadcasters, entertainers, and so on - but our goals go beyond that. We especially hope that all of our students take these skills, these different ways of seeing the world and communicating to others what you see, to enrich your everyday lives - and maybe even to change the world, regardless of your occupation.

Plus, there's always this, as Mrs. Morris puts it so succinctly:
"What we do is cool."

Mr. Olson

(This is a repost - originally from May 2015 on Mr. Olson's blog - molsononw.blogspot.com.)